It’s certainly been quite a while since I’ve checked out a Flash comic, that’s for sure. Or any comic for that matter. Volume 2 ended with Gorilla Grodd and the troops heading to Earth just when the Rogues Gallery had been having a big fight with the Flash. Now they have to break that up in order to fight off the invasion but it may already be too late for Central City. That was a good cliffhanger to end things off with so Volume 3 is really able to start quickly. The arc really takes up almost all of the volume but you would expect no less for Grodd.
So as mentioned, Gorilla Grodd’s army is here and the Flash has a very tenuous partnership with the Rogues for now. By that I mean that the Flash definitely has to watch his back at all times or it could be game over for him. This won’t be as easy as normal though because Gorilla Grodd has obtained super speed of his own. Meanwhile Iris and friends are still stuck inside the speed force and trying to get out but they have to make sure not to mess with the timestream too much. That never tends to end well.
The arc takes up the first 5 issues out of 7 in the volume so quite a lot happens. I always had a hard time taking Grodd seriously as a Flash villain because super speed means this guy should not be able to do anything. Giving him the Speed Force as well helps to change that because now Flash is the one in a tough spot. I won’t say unwinnable, but it would be difficult to cause an upset if they both have the same level of speed only Grodd is massively stronger. You could argue that the Flash’s experience would allow him to win but I’d argue that the experience isn’t enough to even give him the advantage let alone make this an easy win.
It’s honestly a very impressive showing for Gorilla Grodd to the point where the Flash pulls a Dr. Strange and thinks through hundreds if not thousands of scenarios and can’t find any way where he can directly defeat Gorilla Grodd. Ultimately he has to think outside of the box on this one. The plan is certainly an interesting one. Depending on how his plan went I may have been shaking my head but ultimately it was well thought out. It may not guarantee his victory but it does stack as many possible advantages as possible in order to at least make this close.
The volume really shows off Barry’s intelligence which is always good. He is a genius in his own right even if he’s not as smart as Batman or Superman. Barry knows how to come up with a plan and is quite self sufficient. The guy’s been the hero of Central City for a while after all and the volume treats him with a lot of respect. Part of why the Justice League is so fun is because you can make an argument for several members ultimately being the deadliest person in the group. Flash is no exception with how he can bend time to his will and move so quickly. Usually this means you may have some power level hax but the comic solved that issue by giving Grodd his speed. Ultimately the arc was a lot of fun.
There are two main subplots here, one of which is solid and the other which is underwhelming. The good one is with the Rogues fighting off the Gorillas. It’s always fun to have a villains vs villains kind of confrontation and this one lives up to that. The rogues are just lucky that the rest of the Gorillas don’t have super speed. Captain Cold is still bickering about trying to be the leader a lot but the group does ultimately team up to stop the threat. I look forward to seeing them step in as villains again in a future arc.
The plot I was not really feeling was with Turbine, Iris, and the gang. So they were hopping around a lot and ultimately show up in the speed force to help but it was a little hard to care. They didn’t help a whole lot and while I know Turbine needs to get home, you would just be waiting to get back to the Barry plot. It seems like Turbo’s plot will end up being important in a future arc so maybe next volume will be his time to shine. In the meantime though it just wasn’t very big yet. Also, Iris is just so unlikable in the New 52 so far so she tends to be annoying in most of the scenes.
We get a flashback where she went on a date with Barry just to try and use him to get her brother out of prison. Manipulating someone with a fake date’s definitely not good. In the present they’ve patched things up well enough but Barry is currently dating Patty and you can’t help but feel that Patty is ultimately doomed. It’s too bad because Patty seems like a good character throughout. She’s been very understanding of his Flash persona and has just been nothing but supportive throughout the series. I’d like to see Iris and Barry just have a very constructive friendship but we’ll see how that goes.
The final two issues deal with the Trickster being charged with murder. He denies the charges and Barry believes him because he knows the Trickster wouldn’t murder someone. Personally….I’d be a little dubious since the guy is a villain even if he usually seems harmless. Also, some of the guys who went into the Speed Force have started developing super speed. Interestingly, only Iris has not awakened her abilities yet which concerns Flash but he doesn’t have time to tackle every issue at once. He needs to convince these guys to stop using their powers so freely and he needs to find evidence to help out the Trickster. One last problem though…his speed has mysteriously vanished. Can he still prove that the Trickster is innocent?
Albert and Gomez are the two guys who awakened the super speed abilities and they are rather annoying. They get themselves into trouble almost immediately and are extremely aggressive right from the jump. Sure, they’re right that they can’t just get rid of their powers and may as well use them but you’d think they would take babysteps first. Maybe train in abandoned areas, get used to the speed, etc. There are so many ways to prepare yourself with super speed since it’s such an amazing power. Jumping right into big fights is not the way to go. I think what rubs me the wrong way is how upset they are and it really feels like they will turn evil in short order. They’re also quite rude to the Flash for no reason. If they keep their powers I definitely expect things to get dicey.
The Flash losing his powers feels pretty random for now. At the end of the volume we find out that this may tie into a Batman case involving a power syphoning device. Cyborg is looking into it and this is a nice nod to the rest of the League being around. It’s the perfect way to include their presence while still having the Flash doing his own thing. Without this happening the mini arc would be extremely easy so I see why the plot device was included.
After all, the stakes here is that a group of rebels are planning to break the Trickster out and that could cause some political strife as the group is a part of an independent nation. It’s certainly impressive that they started this up since these guys don’t seem all that ready for politics. Still, apparently this could cause huge issues so the Flash has to be careful on how he handles this. We get to see how he would fight with gadgets and such to also try and avoid hurting anyone. It’s a fun adventure which may be a lot more low key than the Grodd fights but works well enough.
Finally, the cliffhanger is about the Reverse Flash showing up. I have no idea which version or iteration this one is but he seems to be taking the title literally as he may have just saved someone he murdered only to destroy the guy again? The whole setup is about doing things in reverse which is fun. I want to see more of this gimmick going forward. He’s already talking big and I expect he’ll try to bring some pseudo moral argument over to Barry which the lead should just disregard. Reverse Flash is historically one of his most dangerous foes though so this should be a tough fight.
As expected, the artwork is really solid here. The New 52 era always looked super impressive visually and this comic is no exception. The fight scenes are on point and it makes the comic very easy to read. You never have to pause and wonder what’s going on or anything like that. The whole story just flows together real easy. The writing is good too with all the characters remaining in character and acting sensible. Even Iris who I wasn’t a big fan of is still written well. I just didn’t like the decisions she would end up making.
Overall, The Flash continues to be a strong run for the character. Each arc is interesting and brings a good amount of action and adventure. With the Reverse Flash coming in, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next arc is the best one yet. The beginning to a long comic run is always super important and I’d say the writer’s been nailing it here. Each story keeps introducing new elements for the future so there’s always quite a few plot threads to juggle. The toughest thing will be keeping the Flash from instantly winning without constantly reverting to taking his powers away or just making the enemies also gain super speed. Of course if you have to choose an option to reuse, I would always go with the latter because high speed battles never get old. Also, it just makes sense for his gallery to have super speed as it’s logically the best way to put up a fight against him.